Mike Vaughn Announces New SLM Series For CT525 Engine
DAWSONVILLE, GA – NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Founder and Director Mike Vaughn announced at the series Annual Awards Banquet on Saturday night at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame that he will begin an innovative economical super late model series for the 2013 season around the Chevrolet Performance CT525 Engine.
During his State of the Series Address, Vaughn announced the new super late model series will feature a 22 to 24-race schedule and a point fund that will pay $30,000-to-win beginning with the 2013 season. Vaughn said a Title Sponsor announcement for the new series will be made in the coming weeks.
“We’re moving forward with giving the Chevrolet Performance CT 525 Engine a spot on the stage of dirt late model racing,” Vaughn said. “This affordable all-aluminum engine has proven itself to be reliable and successful on the race track, and it is time to give it its own series. For 2013, we will have a 22 to 24-race series with a $30,000-to-win point fund to highlight the CT 525 Engine.”
The Chevrolet Performance CT 525 All-Aluminum racing engine is based off the Corvette production engine. It is built and sealed at the factory to prevent any expensive modifications. The CT525 is available from NeSmith Chevrolet in Claxton, GA for $6,995 and race-ready with everything except carburetor, fuel pump, power steering pump and headers for $9,254.
Vaughn emphasized that nothing will change with the current NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Tour and the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series for dirt late models powered by the Chevrolet Performance 604 and 602 Crate Engines. They will continue to compete in their own respective series, and that the new series will be an additional third series.
“The series for the CT525 Engine will be separate to the current tour for the 604 and 602 Crate Engines which will remain the same for 2013,” Vaughn said. “However, the 604 and 602 Crate Engines will also be eligible to compete in the series with the CT525.”
Bill Martens, Chevrolet Performance Special Programs Manager, also addressed the banquet gathering to announce that GM Performance Parts is being rebranded Chevrolet Performance Parts and that they are committed to the new series by providing CT 525 customers with a factory Rebuild Center.
“Should the CT525 need to be repaired or rebuilt, it will be done under one roof at the factory with new CT525 Rebuild Center and also be resealed there,” Martens said. “This Rebuild Center will be able to keep everything consistent and under tight control, as everything done to every engine will be documented and passed on to the series officials.”
The NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series and Chevrolet Performance have been working together over the past three years in the field research and development of the CT525 Engine, and according to Vaughn, the Rebuild Center was the final phase before a series for the engine could be implemented.
“Bill Martens, myself, and our respective staffs have worked together very closely over the past three years in the research and development of the Chevrolet Performance CT525 Engine,” Vaughn said. “We also took some of the lessons we learned with the 604 and 602 Crate Engines, and the placement of the Rebuild Center was the final piece of the R&D puzzle before being able to move forward with the new series.”
According to National Dirt Late Model Hall of Fame Inductee Ronnie Johnson, the employees of the Chevrolet Performance Rebuild Center won’t be overloaded with work, as Johnson, who has performed on-track R&D in competition with the CT525 Engine, followed Martens to the podium to give testimony regarding the reliably and lack of maintenance needed with the CT525.
“I’ve been competing with the CT525 in super late model competition since 2009, and I’ve run over 40 races with it trouble-free with no mechanical issues,” Johnson said. “Since I put the CT525 in my race car, all I’ve had to do is change the oil. The engine has a hydraulic valve train and you do not have to adjust the valves. I can go out into my shop right now, fire it up, and it’s just as crisp as it was when it was new.”
Vaughn said that the Chevrolet CT525 Engine Johnson used in the R&D program had over 35 races on it before Johnson received it. The R&D Engine has over 75 races on it with trouble-free performance and proven reliability.
Johnson said he has been successful in super late model competition with the CT525 engine, and that it has paid for itself ten times over.
“I’ve won some $10,000-to-win races with the CT 525 Engine against $40,000 super late model engines, and I’ve run in the top ten in about 90 percent of the races I’ve been in with the CT525,” Johnson said. “The way I see it, why spend $40,000 when you can accomplish the same thing with an engine that costs less than $10,000.”
Vaughn also discussed the long-range plan for the CT525 Engine using the same model he used since 2005 in building the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Tour and the NeSmith Chevrolet Weekly Racing Series using the Chevrolet Performance 604 and 602 Crate Engines.
“Once the series for the CT525 Engine establishes itself in 2013, we will encourage our Weekly Racing Series tracks to develop a weekly division for the CT525 Engine as an affordable alternative to the expensive super late model division for both the tracks and competitors, while still also running the crate late model division on a weekly basis.” Vaughn said. “In 2004, a lot of people said the crate engines would never work in dirt late model racing, but now, it’s pretty evident the naysayers were wrong.”
Vaughn said he’s sure he will hear the same thing about the new series for the Chevrolet Performance CT525 Engine, but he’s confident it will produce the same results that the Chevrolet Performance Crate Engine series has over the last seven years.
“I’m sure there will be people that will say the same thing about the Chevrolet Performance CT525 Engine – that it will never work in dirt late model racing,” Vaughn said. “By bringing along the CT525 Engine, just like we did with the 604 and 602 Crate Engines, with a traveling series first, followed by a Weekly Racing Series, I feel very confident that seven years from now, the naysayers will be wrong again.”
The announcement about the new series for the Chevrolet Performance CT525 was well-received by the competitors, as eight drivers said they were excited about the new series and have committed to compete in it.
In addition to the affordable super late model series for the CT525 Engine, Vaughn also announced another cost-saving option for competitors in the new super late model series, and the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series Tour, that involves the development of a $150 Bilstein Spec Shock.
“There is no doubt that the engine costs can be kept under control, but now it’s time to go on to the next highest expense on a dirt late model and begin to address the rising costs of racing shocks,” Vaughn said. “In continuing our pursuit of being America’s Leader In Affordable Dirt Late Model Racing, we are currently working with Bilstein Shocks to produce a $150 Spec Shock as an option for our competitors, and give them the opportunity to participate in a Series Within A Series.”
Vaughn said there will be 10 different Bilstein Spec Shocks to choose from that will be sealed and serial numbered. The Bilstein Spec Shocks will be used on all four corners and on the fifth coil of the race car. Competitors that choose to participate in the “Series Within A Series” program and commit to using the Bilstein Spec Shocks for the entire season will compete for an additional point fund that will pay back five spots.
“The NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series has a solid reputation in the way we keep a level playing field through the way we closely tech the Crate Engines,” Vaughn said. “We will tech the Bilstein Spec Shocks in the same manner, as each shock will be sealed and serial numbered. There will also be a rebuild program for the spec shocks, and like the CT525 Engine, it will be done under one roof to insure accountability and consistency.”
Vaughn said the time is right to introduce the new series for the Chevrolet Performance CT525 Engine and the new Bilstein Spec Shock Program.
“In the current economic state our country is in, 2011 was a tough year for dirt late model racing, as it was a year that saw many super dirt late model series fold their tents, and a year that saw many dirt tracks close their doors,” Vaughn said. “But the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series survived 2011, we’re ready for 2012 with an even stronger program, and we’re looking ahead to fill the void in super late model racing with an affordable series that features big money for a fraction of the current expense for the competitor.”
For more information about the NeSmith Chevrolet Dirt Late Model Series visit the series web site at www.nesmithracing.com, or visit the series on Facebook at NeSmith Racing. Becoming a fan of the NeSmith Racing Facebook page will make you eligible for special prizes that will be given away each month. You can follow us on Twitter @NeSmithRacing.
This is outstanding. Will we be able to ship our new 525's directly to the rebuilder like we do the 604's now?
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